The importance of entrepreneurship and tech for good | NTT DATA

Thu, 20 October 2022

The importance of entrepreneurship and tech for good

In 2022, the Global eAwards returned to London for their 21st edition. We were delighted to see an incredible level of innovation across all of our contestants.

Last year, climate tech start-up Maanch took home the main prize for the UK. Their innovative ESG engagement software caught the attention of our judges and secured first place, creating a lasting partnership with NTT DATA UK&I. In the months since we’ve continued to develop our relationship, combining our global expertise with their exuberant drive to succeed and make a positive change in the world.

Recently, CEO Darshita Gillies highlighted the importance of the ongoing partnership: “Being able to speak with experts and network with other businesses gave us the opportunity to understand how we could grow in a faster and more sustainable way, as well as assess whether we were ready to launch our solution in other markets globally.”

We’re delighted to announce this year’s winner, Voilo! Just as with last year, we’re excited to grow a flourishing partnership in the coming months.

Marrying ambition with innovation

Thinking back to last year, Maanch reminds us of the importance of entrepreneurship, eco-friendly initiatives, and tech for good across the sector. From our perspective, innovation is the most vital contributor to the UK’s global goals as well as its continuing rate of growth as a world-leading tech sector.

That’s why we’ve made it an ongoing aim to incubate a culture of innovation through a range of diverse innovation initiatives. One example is the Civil Service Data Challenge, where we sought ideas from civil servants on how government can improve its use of data. Previous winners have sought to use technology to combat climate change. Applications closed in July, and amongst the longlist of candidate proposals are the best in innovative, green, sustainable, and inclusive technologies.

To understand exactly why initiatives of this kind are so important, we only have to look back at the history of our industry. Every major tech company we know today started with an aspirational self-starter with bright ideas. The sector has always flourished most when lofty ambition has met cutting-edge innovation. Some of the world's largest tech companies began from humble beginnings. In 1976, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne started assembling Apple’s first hand-built computer, the Apple I, in 21-year-old Jobs’ parents’ garage.

The state of tech today

As we emerge from an era of disruption on an unprecedented scale, openness to new ideas is the key to unlocking the potential of employees at all levels of the workforce. Over the last year, we’ve been laser-focused on empowering our employees to reach their maximum potential. At times, the tech sector can lose sight of employee wellbeing. We know that this must be avoided at all costs.

In this vastly changing world, our ability to relearn is equally as important as our ability to learn. In this way, we must create an environment where sustainable innovation can occur at all levels of an organisation; where we are open to fresh and exciting ideas; and most importantly, open to change.

Back in 2020, Walter Ruffinoni, the CEO of NTT DATA Italia, discussed how the company overcame difficulties and created an environment where innovation and growth were encouraged, rather than stifled. Instead of stagnating, the company started to radically change for the better.

Therefore, the tech industry must continue to be centred around its employees. Encouraging healthy workplace practices and higher quality of life leads to increased innovation and employee retention. Radical ideas grow in environments where employees feel safe to explore and test boundaries.

Based on a Gartner survey from early this year, only 29% of IT workers have a “high intent” to remain in their current role. This figure reveals the need for the urgent paradigm shift across the sector that has already begun to take place.

Our priorities must lie in employee wellbeing, not only to ensure loyalty but also to build the foundations of sustainable workplace culture in the future. Ultimately, we want to emphasise the people behind the tech to ensure that the next generation of innovators feel supported. We want to see the young, bright minds of the future writing themselves in the history books, rather than solely focusing on the tech they create.

The idea behind the eAwards was to celebrate new and radical ideas in tech, and we hope that it will provide an impetus for those from all walks of life to believe in their ideas and deliver on the potential we know they have within them. Starting today, the industry must re-evaluate its priorities in light of growing global concerns, from climate change to food shortages. The need for innovative solutions has never been clearer.

Moreover, being a force for good has never been more important for organisations, from start-ups to global corporations. These trends must start with the people behind the tech; those that work tirelessly to ensure we are using technology in the right way to move towards a brighter future.


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